Wednesday, October 31, 2012

7 Things To Make Breastfeeding Suck Less

Pun intended, hehe. I was going to title this something earnestly helpful like "7 Nursing Essentials", but that was too boring.  Can I also say that I am so much more comfortable with the euphemism of "nursing", like somehow it's bad for me to talk about breasts?  Sigh.  I'm working on it, though.

Anyway, as you may recall, I did not like breastfeeding at first. In fact, at this point with BabyT, 4 weeks in, it still hurt like a mofo, and I was spending upwards of 4 hours a day feeding her because she was sloooow. Luckily with BabyM, she's pretty efficient and has a picture-perfect latch, so it never hurt. A-mazing.

Why is there a pumpkin on my head??

However, like all newborns, she eats several times a day, so there are some things that make the experience even better.  

1. All-Purpose Nipple Ointment.  My doctor calls this stuff "magic ointment" and good lord she was NOT kidding.  This made breastfeeding bearable the first time, and I'm convinced it's also kept us thrush and infection-free as well.  For the second baby, I was smart enough to get the prescription filled *before* the baby came and took this stuff to the hospital.

2. Washable nursing pads.  Most people just buy the box of disposable Lansinoh nursing pads to avoid embarassing leaks on clothing.  And don't get me wrong, they're pretty great and I have a small stash of those on hand for long outings.  But I felt really bad about generating *so much* trash - tossing a few pairs of these every day for months made me feel very eco-guilty.  I found these wonderfully made washable nursing pads by wooldins on Etsy and bought a set with each baby.  They're WAY better than the 100% cotton ones sold in stores - those get clammy and gross.  These stay comfortable, and wash well.  Love.

3. Electric breast pump x2.  We started BabyM on a bottle this week, so I had my first grown up dinner away from the baby. So nice.  Of course, this requires me to pump, but I have to anyway, since I need to start the freezer stash for my return to work in March.  I'm lucky to have inherited a nice Medela pump from a close friend (8 years old but still going strong, surprisingly!).  What I found out last time was that lugging the pump and parts back and forth and setting it up at home and at work *each day* was a royal pain.  So I got another one for work and left it there.  I only brought the parts and bottles home to wash and had plenty of extras.  Well worth the extra cost.

4. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow. I know, real women can nurse standing up, walking around, etc. and don't need any stinkin' nursing pillow.  But I'm just not woman enough.  I'm still pretty awkward without it, though I can get it done if required.  But with the pillow, it's so.damn.easy.  Baby is at the right height, I can sit up straight without a crazy backache, and it leaves me with a free hand to snack, surf the web, shop online etc.  Ridiculous name, but great product.

5. Ugly Glider.  I scored a screamin' deal (twice!) on Craigslist for a Dutailier glider-rocker.  These things are so ridiculously ugly, but so damn comfortable for breastfeeding.  Ours has a charming (puke) pastel animal theme.  But the angle of the chair is perfect, it's a rocker, and has comfy padding.  I can get over the sheer ugliness of it for the year or so we'll need it.

6. Medela Nursing Stool.  When I first saw this, I thought it was another way to separate new parents from their money.  I mean, Ugly Glider comes with its own ottoman so why would I need a separate tiny hard footstool?  Except that the ottoman is not the right height for nursing, and I am short and had a ridiculous backache for the first few weeks of nursing BabyT. The lactaction specialist recommended this stool, and desperate for relief, I shelled out the money for it.  Worth.every.penny.  Seriously.  It fixed all my posture problems.  Love.

7. Smartphone.  Yeah, I know.  You don't *need* this for nursing.  But OMG, having Internet access on a tiny device I can hold in one hand?  Priceless for those long feedings.  I've shopped online, kept up with Facebook, read the news, and cleaned out my email, all while growing a baby. How awesome is that? I could even watch movies and TV if I wanted to. Definitely an essential.

So there it is - the things that make breastfeeding easy-peasy for me.  Hope it helps.  What do the experienced mamas out there think?  Any essentials I missed?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments.


  1. Nice list! Additionally, I always had a water bottle around. I found one that Nalgene makes with a flip-cap that I could open and close with one hand so it was easy to drink from and spill proof, too.

    Also, why are the gliders so ugly? Seriously, if someone would make a quality one that didn't look like it belongs in grandma's cottage, I would buy it in a heartbeat! The kids still like to sit in my lap on the rocker sometimes, so there is still a super-ugly rocker in the living room.

  2. Hey, which Medela pump do you use and recommend? I am debating whether I should buy an electric pump. They're all so expensive so I want to get a model that I know works for some people. (And no we don't get them free here - there's very little that comes with the "free" health care in Sweden.)

    1. I have both the Medela pump in style and the Ameda Purely Yours. They're both awesome, but I think I prefer the Ameda slightly more because it's more compact.

  3. I love my Medela freestyle; its so small & light there was no "lugging" required. And second on the water (and snacks). I'm so glad things are going well for you this time, it can be such a struggle.

  4. Good tips! I'm glad nursing this time around is going well for you. My initial foray sucked bigtime at first, but I still managed to make it a year after getting over the initial hump of suckiness. I learned these two other tips after shelling out big bucks to a lactation consultant: (1) If you have a baby who likes to linger, limit them to 15 minutes on each side. Poke and prod them during that time, and eventually, they learn to be efficient little suckers. Tee hee. (2) If you have one severely cracked and sore nipple, and you just can't take it anymore, stop feeding from that side for 48 hours. Instead, use the other side, pump from at least the affected side, and then immediately soak your breasts in as hot salty water as you can handle for two minutes throughout the day and night (I set up two red plastic cups in the bathroom for this). I'm not going to lie, it was a pain, but it saved my boobs. You can give both nipples a break for 48 hours if you need to, but ideally this should be after the first month so that you don't run as big of a risk of nipple confusion.

    And woman, I LOVE my gliders. I got the Jordan glider from JCP when I had Zachary, and I splurged on a Little Castle chair and a half glider from Wayfair when I had the twins. I think they are so beautiful that I'd marry them if they'd allow me to do so in my state. The chair and a half looks better in person than on the website, and is big enough that I can fit in it with two babies and a toddler, so my big guy won't get left out of story time. Heck, the husband can even join us if he has a baby on his lap. Priceless.

    1. Oh, I love the way to nudge along poky eaters! I'll have to try it. And your gliders sound a lot nicer, for sure. That's awesome that everyone can fit!

  5. Very useful post, glad to see you are very much enjoying the baby mama v2 project :)


  6. That is quite the ugly glider. But it looks sooo comfy! And I nursed on a half dead old couch, or a cute but spine poking wood rocking chair. I resisted a stool at first but then gave in & was glad. Wish I'd had a smart phone!

  7. The one thing I wanted and bought for myself while pregnant was a glider. No stool. I am short. I got a manual pump on loan but I learned to hand express which eventually was perfect for baby and I.

    We had no issues until a bout of thrush. ugh

    I had nursing bras and washable cloth pads for those first few leaky months.

    I learned to keep hydrated or suffer headaches. Check into LLL La Leche League for more support. It was great to connect with other moms.

    It was especially as we went from the first year through 24 months. Seeing other toddlers trying to nurse and climb all over like mine was a relief. Then my daughter self weaned and it ended.

    She just turned 16 and had her first driving lesson. I have fond memories and no regrets. Being a new mom was easy compared to dealing with the teen attitude!

  8. In the early days I found I got starving in the middle of the night and didn't want to trudge downstairs at 3am - so kept an emergency pack of biscuits next to the bed!

    1. Very smart! If we didn't have dogs, I'd definitely do that, but any stray food would disappear quickly around here :)

  9. That is so cool that the pump is going strong!!! 8 years! I'm glad you are getting good use out of it still (and I'm glad I'll never need it again). :)

  10. I think I got ultra hooked on my smartphone while nursing. She nursed for more than a year but I'm still hooked to my phone..


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